Life & Letters


About this Item

Title: Walt Whitman to John Burroughs, 10 September 1866

Date: September 10, 1866

Whitman Archive ID: prc.00005

Source: The Charles E. Feinberg Collection of the Papers of Walt Whitman, 1839–1919, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C. Transcribed from digital images or a microfilm reproduction of the original item. For a description of the editorial rationale behind our treatment of the correspondence, see our statement of editorial policy.

Contributors to digital file: Elizabeth Lorang, Vanessa Steinroetter, Alyssa Olson, and Nicole Gray

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New York
Sept. 10, 1866.

My dear friend,1

My book has been delayed among the printers,—but I shall stay till it is all printed—it is a little over half done, & they promise that it shall be done, or mainly so, this week. If convenient, send me a draft for the $100. If practicable send a draft payable to me, at Atlantic National Bank, of Brooklyn, New York. Write me a note separate, also. Direct to me at 279 East 55th street, New York City.

The book is going to suit me pretty well—it will make a volume of 500 pages, size & style & type, &c fully equal to Drum Taps.—I shall feel glad enough when it is completed—I have a constant struggle with the printers—They are good fellows & willing enough—but it seems impossible to prevent them making lots of ridiculous errors—it is my constant dread that the book will be disfigured in that way—though we have got along pretty well thus far—I rec'd a letter from William O'Connor, & wrote him in return.—I shan't be back for nine or ten days.

Remember 279 East 55th street, New York City.

I have been well & hearty. My mother is pretty well for an old woman of 72—John, I hope this will find you, & the wife too in good health. I send you both my love.—The weather is perfect here, & if it wasn't for the worriment of the book, I should be as happy as a clam at high water, as they say down on old Long Island.



1. John Burroughs (1837–1921) met Whitman on the streets of Washington, D.C., in 1864, even though Burroughs had frequented Pfaff's beer cellar, where he consistently defended Whitman's poetry, in 1862. After returning to Brooklyn in 1864, Whitman commenced what was to become a lifelong correspondence with Burroughs. Burroughs was magnetically drawn to Whitman. However, the correspondence between the two men is, as Burroughs acknowledged, curiously "matter-of-fact." Burroughs would write several books involving or devoted to Whitman's work: Birds and Poets (New York: Houghton Mifflin, 1877), Notes on Walt Whitman as Poet and Person (New York: American News Co., 1867), Whitman, A Study (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1896), and Accepting the Universe (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1920). For more information on Burroughs see Burroughs, John (1837–1921) and Ursula (1836–1917)[back]


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